Kariba (New Ziana) – A top government official on Friday commended the local media for playing a key role in the fight against Covid 19, resulting in minimal deaths and infections from the pandemic.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe is among countries with the least coronavirus infections and deaths in the world.
This, she told a strategic meeting of her ministry, was in large part owing to an effective campaign against the pandemic by the local media.
To date, Zimbabwe has registered a total of 8 349 Covid-19 infections and 242 deaths.
About 95 percent of the people infected have recovered, leaving a tiny number still battling the pandemic.
Mutsvangwa singled out public broadcaster, ZBC, Zimpapers and New Ziana for special commendation in the Covid 19 fight, saying they left no stone unturned in raising public awareness.
“You will agree with me that the Ministry and its parastatals, namely the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Zimpapers Group and New Ziana left no stone unturned in churning out information and educating the public on the Covid 19 pandemic,” she said.
“Information was packaged in various formats including skits, jingles as well as animation, which in some instances were done in national official languages such as Venda, Chewa and Kalanga.
“Owing to the Ministry’s rigorous media and communication campaigns on Covid 19 scourge, Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world that has the least infections and deaths for Covid 19,” said Mutsvangwa.
She said the Ministry’s wide-ranging media reforms, including legislative, were advancing and having a positive impact on the industry, and the country as a whole.
The government is amending and repealing various media laws and regulations to, among other things, guarantee the public’s access to information, and improve governance in the country.
“I am happy that the creation of an enabling media environment through the media legislative reform process is bearing fruit and nearing completion,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The infamous Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was repealed on 1st July 2020 and was effectively replaced by the Freedom of Information Act which promotes access to information through its encouragement of voluntary disclosures of information in the public interest and timely response to requests for information.
“The other outstanding Bills, which include the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Protection of Personal Information Bill and the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill, as well as the Draft National Media and Film Industry Policy, are at varying stages of processing and were negatively affected by the obtaining Covid 19 environment,” she added.
Mutsvangwa said the ministry had also regularised long lingering governance issues at most of its parastatals by appointing boards of directors.
This includes at ZBC, Transmedia Corporation, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
“I am happy that under the 2nd Republic, all of the Ministry parastatals and entities now have Boards in place,” Mutsvangwa said.